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tv   Nightly Business Report  PBS  September 17, 2014 7:00pm-7:31pm PDT

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this is "nightly business report" with tyler mathisen and susie gharib. >> no rush. the blue chip dow index finishes after a record after federal reserve chair janet yellin sticks to her clip and makes sure that the bank will keep interest rates in place for a while. and profits considered a bellweather, earning a lot of money last quarter and could be a sign of things to come. and down to the wire, the battle for independence in scotland and why the outcome could mean big changes for business. a report tonight, on "nightly business report" for wednesday, september 17th. good evening, everybody, and welcome. it was as susie just mentioned another record-setting day on
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wall street with the dow and the dow transports finishing at fresh all-time highs. the reason? federal reserve policy makers decided today to keep interest rates right where they are near zero for what they call a quote, considerable time. now, that is the phrase some fed watchers thought would be dropped from its post-meeting communication. and the thinking was it would have opened the door to higher interest rates sooner. well, not so fast, said the fed chair janet yellin, the rate is not ready, and the lower inflation means the rates can stay low for now, on wall street, major averages shot higher, dow up about 25 points with the high, nasdaq up nine, s&p edging back from an historic intra-day high this afternoon finishing just two points higher on the day. prices on ten-year treasuries fell as bond yields jumped to a session peak above 2.6%, moving up in the past couple of weeks.
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and the u.s. dollar gained some ground as well. hampton pierson has more. >> reporter: federal reserve chair janet yellin delivered a shot to equity markets, with the plan to keep key short-term rates at record lows for a considerable amount of time. the reason, key economic measures remain sub-par including wage growth and long-term unemployment. >> i want to emphasize that there is no mechanical interpretation of what the term "considerable time" means. and as i have said repeatedly, the decisions that the committee makes about what is the appropriate time to begin to raise its target for the federal funds rate will be dated dependent. >> the fed expects slower economic growth this year and next, slightly lower unemployment, but little change on inflation.
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the central bank officially announced it will end its bond-buying program before it expires after the next meeting in late october, mid-2015 remains the most likely time table for monetary policy makers to start to raise rates. the size and pace will depend on what is happening with the economy. >> the federal funds rate will serve as the key rate to communicate the stands of policy. to begin normalization the committee will raise its target range for the federal funds rate. the committee expects that the effect of federal funds rate may vary within the target range. and could even move at sight of that range on occasion. >> as far as the time table for shrinking the fed's time table, the fed chair said that could take nearly a decade. josh fineman joins us to
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talk more about it. he is chief economist at deutsche management. josh, the fed said it is in no hurry to change what is going on with rates. are policymakers doing what is right in your view? >> i think so i think they're not rushing for the exits. i think it is appropriate given that while the economy is making progress we're better off than we were a few years ago. and i believe that that progress is likely to continue. we're not where we want to be or need to be. inflation is still running below target and we're still shy of full employment. the fed says they see considerable slack in the labor market and i agree. i don't think there is any great sense of urgency to move quickly or aggressively. >> does the fed's transparency make it easier or harder? >> i think it is pretty clear, the fed is making it clear what
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they want to do, get the economy back and the stability back. it is good to know. those are sort of the guide posts and they say they will not move until they're much more confident that we'll get there. i think it helps people navigate. it doesn't mean we know for sure what the fed is going to do because as they say, it is conditional. nobody knows for sure how the economy will evolve. but i think it is helpful to have the guide posts. >> i know you're an economist, and here tyler and i are asking you stock market questions but they're so connected, to see what is going on in the economy and vice versa. the gold was down, the dollar was stronger. so kind of what is next for the markets? is it just going to be -- are they going to go higher from here? are they going to be going lower? just sort of stuck in this same range? what do you believe happens based on what janet yellin said today? >> i think based on what she
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said and what we have been talking about. it depends on how the economy evolves. i think the economy has a good chance to continue along its recovery path and actually doing a little bit better. i think the progress that we have been seeing towards full employment and price stability is likely to continue. but i believe it will be gradual. i think that the fed is certainly not going to be hurrying. they will keep policy accommodating still for quite a while. so i think on the whole that there are risks big out there, global risks, does the data look a little better in the u.s. and a little more soggy in other parts of the world? we have to keep an eye on that. >> there were two dissenters who will be leaving the voting rolls on the market next year. has janet yellin proved she is in charge of the fed fully? >> i think so. of course it is a consensus building institution, and you will never get everybody on the
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same page, people have different views on how the world works. i think the dissenterss are on the edge of the core so are not really reflective of the opinion. i think the chair, janet yellin has done a good job. >> josh fineman, great to have you here. and one of the sticking points for the federal reserve has been the inflation rate running below the central bank's long-run forecast. and today, more evidence of low inflation at the cash register. cons declined 2/10th of 1% in august, the first monthly drop in more than a year. with the price of gas, oil, clothing and airline tickets all dropping last month. well, there are no inflation worries when it comes to on-line shopping. with more people than ever buying through the web fedex is
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doing more ground shipping to homes and doing more delivery. fedex posted strong earnings with net income up 24%, with shares rising up 11% so far this year. so what is fedex doing right? morgan brennan takes a look. >> reporter: profit at the world's number two shipper jumped 24% from last year as sales increased in all the major divisions. ground freight and express. several factors played a role including cost-cutting programs and ecommerce shipments. the strong point is a good sign for the economy, and they are considered strong competitors for bellweathers of growth. as they announced a 5% rate hike for all of north america's operations, beginning right behind the holiday season. on january 5th, the same day new dimensional rates took effect. >> fedex is taking a leadership position from pricing standpoint. typically they don't increase their ground rates before ups, but this year they moved it up.
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frankly they're becoming a bit more of a leader in that respect because they didn't have the service problems that ups had last year. >> fedex says the amounts of appropriate given the economy. the number of shipments is growing and capacity remains tight. but before the prices kick in, fedex has something else to focus on first, the holidays. peak-seaso expects to s shipping volumes and is hiring more than 50,000 temporary workers to do so more than double last year, although still far less than the 95,000 workers being brought on they did not h problems around the holidays, despite the snow and ice and ups did. and i know the weather was a factor, but the bottom line is the little ice and snow trucks didn't follow around the fedex trucks that ignored the ups trucks it is benefitting them in
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both pricing and power today. >> that is why fedex predicts a huge forecast, analysts believe it could be a turn-around year, but it revolves around the gas prices and of course the weather. especially as children once again make their wish lists for santa. for "nightly business report," i'm morgan brennan in fort lee, new jersey. and fedex is not the only company announcing that it is taking on more seasonal hires for the upcoming season, kohl's will announce 50,000 employees, up from last year. and residents of scotland will make an historic decision on independence tomorrow. if they vote yes they will break away from the united kingdom after more than 300 years. but right now polls show the no's are in the lead but not by much. and understandably, a lot of
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businesses are nervous about what happens next. michelle cabrera has more. >> reporter: the feelings are intense on both sides, so is the campaigning, the nearly 5 million scottish voters are worried. >> i am voting no, if you can't make up your mind you have to go with what you already got. >> i vote yes. >> why? >> because i think we're better when we can control our politicians with we can see them. >> the campaign says that scots should have more say on how their money is spent and more control on the welfare programs. the no's say they could lose membership in the european union, which could hurt trade. one of scotland's largest imports is scotch whiskey, it is
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a huge export for scotland, $6.5 billion last year or 95 million cases. >> this is the factory floor, and the distillery in the heart of scotland, they believe this would be good for the business. they have to abide by hygiene regulations. >> the results could be quite difficult for business. >> he fears losing the british pound and interest rates could go up. >> so many things are not clear right now. particularly in terms of currency and the markets. >> graham blackmon supports independence, he knows there are risks but the key issues could be resolved after the vote. ultimately he believes it it better to have the votes in scotland rather than far away as london.
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>> a scottish poet said that a parliament should always be within marching distance of the people. >> that way, he says, businesses could have more influence on what happens to them. for now, it is the voters with the influence. michelle cabrera, scotland. still what a difference a year makes, remember the government shutdown a year ago? why members of congress are taking a very different tack this year. higher reward money for wall street whistle-blowers. that is what u.s. attorney general eric holder is proposing. in a speech today at new york
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university holder asked congress to raise the limit on the amount of money whistle-blowers may receive for providing evidence of financial fraud or other misconduct, something holder says is needed more than ever to combat wrongdoing. but it remains true that at some institutions that engaged in inappropriate conduct before and may yet again, the buck still stocks nowhere. nowhere. the responsibility remains so diffuse, top executives so insulated that any misconduct could again be considered more a symptom of the institution's culture than a result of the willful actions of any single individual. >> current laws cap those rewards at $1.5 million which holder calls a small sum and may not be enough to entice a corporation of many in the financial industry. and looks like democratic and republican lawmakers may be on the same page with the house voting on a bill to fund the
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government in the next fiscal year. hitting october 1, but there is a lot more than keeping washington's lights on in this congressional revolution. and here to tell us more about it is john harwood from the nation's capital. john, does the house vote today mean that government will stay open and next month congress will avoid a shutdown? and what does the election have to do with all of this? >> it means they will avoid a shutdown at least through september, tyler, and you're right, this was a bipartisan vote overwhelming. the house cast more than 300 votes in favor of this. the majority of both democrats and republicans voting yes. they want to clear this issue off the table and get back home and campaign in mid-term elections. >> john, to what extent does the debate change because of that amendment of president obama on his new offensive against isis? is there any connection between the two? >> well, that served, susie to
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try to enhance the bipartisan feeling behind this bill. republicans already wanted to avoid the government shutdown and don't want to make themselves the issues in the mid-terms. they want to make the democrats and president obama the issue. so it is likely to go that way anyway. but to some extent the public is rallying around the president's offensive against isis, and it served to add a bipartisan element that made it all the more certain it would go through. now the senate has to follow through. >> and the senate presumably will, anymore important elements? >> yes, the extension of the import/export bank funding and the authorization. remember that was in danger because some tea party members argued this was crony capitalism with the overseas deals. now, you have tremendous support for this and bipartisan support through this bill to extend that funding into june.
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still going to be a challenge to have a long-term extension, but at least for now the fear that the export/import bank will go away is off the table. >> all right, john harwood, thank you very much reporting from washington. and ev seems to love a happy home builder and today we have a lot of them. home builder sentiment shot up to a fresh nine-year high since before the collapse as builders continue to sell more homes at higher prices, a recipe for happiness. and kb homes up more than 4%, dr horton up. and the biggest gains went to lamar after they say the big quarterly earnings went through the roof. profits exceeded higher prices. shares of lenar shot up almost 6% to 41.40. an activist is calling for
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dupont to split into two, that is where we begin the focus, the chemical company should be broken up, they say. the firm sent a letter to the board saying that the structure is destroying shareholder value. they suggest another operation that generates strong cash flow. shares popped more than 5% to 69.75. and general mills posting results that missed on the bottom line as cheaper store brand foods are eating the profits. the cherrios cereal maker blamed the markets, announcing $100 million in new cost cuts. shares fell about 4.5% to finish at $50.83. and microsoft hiked the dividend to 31 cents, but that is the smallest percentage increase in the payout since 2009. also the company appointed new directors to replace new board
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members who decided not to seek recompl-electio re-election. a warning from sony sent shares lower, they will report a much larger expected loss of more than $2 billion for the fiscal year and will not pay a dividend for the first time in more than 50 years. it cited a struggling smartphone business for the revision, the stock off almost 7% to 18.88. cracker barrel saw the fourth quarter profits rise as higher prices and cost cuts helped the restaurant chain offset lower traffic. the results beat estimates, but the profit outlook for the new year came below consensus, shares fell to 101.07. and topping estimates, also the steel maker's canadian unit will apply from protection from creditors as it looks at restructuring elements. they will not proceed with
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planned investments and expansions at the plants in minnesota and indiana, and stocks surge on that news to $45.61. we have another update on the family dollar store saga, the injection of the take-over bid, family dollar is trying to rid a sale with the other train, dollar tree. shares of both store operators off a bit. and united natural foods posting strong results after the bell. the natural and organic food distributor gave guidance that topped wall street estimates. shared soared initially after hours but during the regular trading day the stock was up only slightly to $63.61. right now the national football league is struggling through possibly the biggest crisis everyone for them. they're speaking out about how officials are handling or mishandling domestic violence
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issues. >> reporter: nike, suspending their contract with adrian peterson after his indictment for child abuse, saying that nike does not in any way condone child abuse of any kind. this after the ray rice domestic abuse scandal prompted bud to say, this so clearly goes against our culture and moral code. we have shared our case expect with the league. >> they're concerned about their prices, shareholders, stock prices, those things are business. >> anheuser-busch spends about $200 million annually on nfl rights, fees and ads's paying for bud lite to be their official beer. it is just wintone of many bran speaking out. many commenting on the seriousness of the domestic abuse and the importance of the
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nfl doing the right thing. the nfl's biggest games deliver tv's highest ratings and the most expensive advertising. but will brands actually pull the plug on the chance to reach the massive audience? >> there is a very good chance that sponsors will pull the plug on advertising dollars, not just with individual athletes or teams, but potentially bigger contracts with the league if things get worse. >> now, there is more money on the line than ever. >> you know, $8 billion a year in television revenues and why did the tv networks pay those rights fees because they know they can get them back in droves from the corporate sponsors. this is a watershed moment. >> the nfl's consumer perception has dropped to its lowest point since 2012 when former players filed a class action lawsuit for concussions and brain injuries. and coming up, the end of higher education as we know it.
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will half of the country's colleges and universities no longer exist years from now? we have the final part of our series, the future of education next. a warning today about the personal safety of data kept on file on the health website, the accounting office said it found security and private vulnerabilities on the federal exchange, despite the steps taken to enhance the customer data in the past year. there are still weaknesses in keeping the information safe. and finally tonight, what might a college education look
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like 20 years from now? what will the student body look like? and what could be the rising impact of the student bubble. in the final installment of our three-part series on education, sharon epperson gives us a look at the changing landscape of higher education. >> reporter: in 25 years, the higher education landscape may be unrecognizable. >> half of the colleges and the universities that now exist in the united states will cease to exist. >> reporter: technology responsible for the shift is already under way. as some of the nation's top universities, including harvard and m. i. t. have started to open up their classes to the world for free through massive on-line courses known as mooks. >> it is a free education course offered on line anywhere from hundreds to thousands of students can sign up for it. >> reporter: the ability to receive a highly coveted elite education for free will have significant implications.
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>> your local state university is going to be in direct competition with the most elite universities in the world. >> futurists say big name universities with strong private endowments should be fine, low cost colleges will be okay, too. but those schools largely dependent on tuition may struggle and may not survive. >> the universities in trouble are those if you will, that are stuck in the middle. we're seeing this in industry after industry, those who were kind of caught in between those two will either adapt or face the consequences. >> when the middle hollows out and the mid-tier colleges and universities go out of business, many futurists say higher education will become much more personalized. >> you may take a law class from harvard, an engineering class from perdue, an economics class from m. i. t., and you have the option to sort of curate your
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own education. >> it is not all doom and gloom. >> it is a positive story that creates a whole level of access for students and whole new opportunities for people who couldn't afford it otherwise. >> for "nightly business report," i'm sharon epperson. fascinating changes, changing the whole business aspect on line. >> and hopefully we get a lot smarter students because they will have access to the harvards and m. i. t.s of the world, right? >> yes. >> that is it for us, i'm susie gharib. >> and i'm tyler mathisen, have a great night, we hope to see you back here tomorrow night.
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tonight on "quest" -- mt. umunhum is one of the most majestic peaks in the bay area. but cold war security and toxic contamination put its summit off limits for more than half a century. now, efforts are underway to open it up to the public. and it's a repeated theme in hollywood movies -- a killer asteroid zooming toward earth. but that couldn't happen for real, could it? major funding for "quest" is provided by -- the national science foundation and the corporation for public broadcasting.


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